Blog Baby

31 01 2011

One month into the WordPress PostaDay 2011 challenge…31 Days and approximately 18,000 words later…I’m still going strong!

I had no real idea of what to expect when I signed up for this challenge.

My original intention was to learn how to set up my blog and to post a simple daily celebration message. 

I asked my lovely daughter (who works in web design) to help me set it up and was met with the usual response of; ‘Oh mum…why don’t you just read the instructions on the Word Press site…after all – that is what they are there for!’

Of course she was right – and this is exactly what I did.

I had been hoping that she would have given me a crash course on the subject, lead me through some short cuts and share some trade secrets with me – instead of forcing me to plough through so many complicated instructions (for a technophobe like me anyway!)

With no other choice, I settled down with said instructions and spent a few days learning what I needed to do to set up a basic blog. While everyone else around me was sleeping off the excesses of their New Year’s Eve celebrations; I was writing my first post.

Pressing the ‘publish’ button, I felt like I was pressing the button on a whole new adventure. I was excited…and terrified…in equal measure!

I was now officially a ‘Blogger’ – and part of a whole new world!

Apart from a few loyal friends – bless you all – I had no idea whether anyone would even want to read my posts…let alone feel moved enough to leave me a comment…or subscribe to my blog.

I was amazed to find that within the first few days the blog had an energy and a life of its own. To discover that comments were being left by people from all around the world was such a thrill!

One month on and I’m even more excited to see how this journey is going to unfold over the coming year.

I am determined to succeed in this challenge; even more so now that I realise just how huge an undertaking this is going to be.

The greatest challenge is not the actual writing, as this is a real pleasure and brings me great joy. It is my time management skills – or lack of them – that are proving to be my greatest adversary.

 

While I’m happily sitting at my laptop for hours on end – writing or researching my next post, reading other blogs, clicking through to links for recommended websites, responding to comments, obsessively checking the stats to see if anyone has visited during the previous 10 minutes(!), or exchanging ideas with other bloggers…

…the rest of my life is beginning to fall by the wayside.

Letters and paperwork are growing into large piles; my inbox hasn’t been cleared for weeks; my social life is taking place mainly on line; my ‘to do list’ is growing longer by the day and I’ve not seen my bed before 3am for ages!

I need to get on top of this and put some discipline into this process. I am addicted…and need to do a ‘blog detox’.

Trouble is – my blog has become my ‘blog baby’ and I want to nurture and protect it above all else (or maybe I should just buy a kitten – much lower maintenance!)

What has truly delighted and surprised me has been connecting with so many lovely people from all around the world.

The blogger community is a wonderfully supportive one and whenever one of us has been flagging – or losing momentum – someone always steps up with words of support and encouragement to keep us on track.

I have learnt so much over the past few weeks and my world has opened up overnight. I’ve joined a community of people who really care about each other and it feels so good to be here.

From Classy Rose’s wonderful blogging tips and easy to understand technical know how; Papa Joe’s warmth and gloriously simple words of love and wisdom; Eliz’s daily posts of mirth and motivation; to Piglet’s ‘toilet’ humour and fantastic photos…each of you…and many others who’ve stopped by to say ‘hello’ along the way … have brought so much joy into my life that I don’t know how to thank you.

You have all freely given of yourselves and for whatever you have chosen to share with me, I am truly grateful. Blogging has brought me a wealth of unexpected gifts and I look forward to continuing my journey with you all.

I may well be sitting here in a year’s time with my neglected house falling down around my ears, suffocating under piles of dirty laundry, gazing wistfully at food that has become fossilized and looking in the mirror with waist length hair turned completely white…but if I still have my laptop and my blogging friends to nurture and sustain me…I will know that it will have been a year well spent.

Now that will be a real cause for celebration!

Day 31 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am celebrating the gift that is this wonderful blogging community – I am so proud and humbled to have been invited to join you all. Thank you for making me so welcome.

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Shadows and Light

30 01 2011

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done for the children

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments

Extracts from The InvitationOriah Mountain Dreamer

I often remember these beautiful words during the times when I have to introduce myself to new people, as I really struggle with the challenge of condensing all that I am into a few short sentences.

In a business context, we are encouraged to produce an ‘elevator’ speech – a short up-beat summary of who we are; what we stand for; and what we can offer the other person.

A personal introduction is very similar; except we might not include the ‘offer the other person’ bit …after all…we’ve only just met!

It is something we have to do though if we want to capture the other person’s attention, as social – or business events – do not usually call for a complete unveiling of our life’s history!

And yet part of me wants others to really ‘see’ me…and for me to ‘see’ them.

I yearn for someone to gaze into my eyes… beyond the ‘me’ I present to the world…and to see into the depths of my soul – where my heart lies.

We are like precious diamonds presenting a few polished and gleaming facets of ourselves to our audience, whilst the greater part of who we are remains in the shadows.

And therein lies the gift…for where there is shadow…there will always be light!

Day 30 -365 Days of Celebration

Today I will be celebrating by looking in the mirror and truly ‘seeing’ myself for the first time.





Bonkers about Books

29 01 2011

To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one  ~ Chinese Saying

My lovely fellow blogger, Papa Joe, talks about some of the pleasures of the past that we would have to search hard to find in today’s society.

As he walks us down memory lane, he recalls the many joys of receiving a hand written letter – in the days before the art of hand writing became practically extinct.

With modern technology affecting all our lives, communication has become instantaneous and the internet has opened up a whole new world for us all.

In many ways, progress is a good thing and I believe that we are incredibly fortunate to be living in one of the most exciting times of world history. However, there is one tradition that I hope will continue to be treasured by us all – the joy and pleasure of the World of Books.

With the advent of the ‘Kindle’; the book reading experience has joined the modern age and gone all ‘techie’. I do agree though that it is a great tool for reading on the move…and a boon for backpackers who are often weighted down with kilos of books – I just wish it had been around when I went back packing a few years ago!

I decided to take a ‘straw poll’ of my friends and family to ask how many would want to replace their beloved books with an electronic version of the same.

I am delighted to report that the general consensus was that no piece of technology can replace the joy of curling up with a good book and that it wouldn’t be the same somehow (at least for those of us over the age of 25!) to snuggle up in bed with a good ‘Kindle’ book.

 

There is something special and ‘touchy feely’ about the whole book experience…from perusing the shelves in the local book store or library; to making a selection and looking forward to some quiet time when we can switch off from the outside world and enter the world of inspiration contained within the pages of our chosen book.

Books have their own special energy. We like having them around to bring us comfort and security. Turning the pages to reveal the next exciting chapter is a real thrill. Books are our friends and our companions and we are never alone when we have a good book for company.

A book that touches us in some deep way will remain in our memories forever. And when a book makes such an impression, we can often we can recall exactly where we were when we first read it.

While I was back packing around Thailand, my favourite book was a rather heavy book called Shantaram (heavy in weight – not content – where was the Kindle then???)

It is an inspirational true story by David Gregory Roberts; an Australian drug addict and prison escapee, forced to live on the streets and slums of Mumbai, India, in an attempt to keep one step ahead of the law. It is a nail-biting read and kept me riveted for the entire 933 pages. A great read!

As you may have gathered by now, I am PASSIONATE about books!

I am so committed to promoting the joys of books and pleasures of reading that I have signed up to participate in World Book Night on Saturday 5th March 2011 (2 days after World Book Day on 3rd March) when I will be joining 20,000 other ‘givers’ to distribute 40,000 books to people of our choosing.

We will each have 48 copies of our book to give away – chosen from a selection of 25 titles.

My choice is a book called Life of Pi by Yann Martel – a transformative novel – a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.

So if you spot me carrying a rather large heavy rucksack on my back, trawling the streets of London on the night of 5th March; please tap me on the shoulder, ask for your copy of the book – and join me in celebrating this wonderful World of Books!

Day 29 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to curl up with a great book and nice cup of Earl Grey tea – bliss!





Chasing Rainbows

28 01 2011

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S.Eliot

I love this simple poem.

These few words encapsulate my life as a restless soul…always on the go…always restless…always in search of the next thrilling adventure waiting over the far horizon.

I’ve always been the dreamer – believing in a world full of exciting possibilities.

As a young child I possessed an unshakable belief that I could have…or be…anything I wanted  – if I wanted it enough.

And I did want it…all of it!

All my life I have been chasing rainbows in pursuit of the elusive pot of gold. And I have been very blessed to have experienced many riches along the ever changing road that has led me back home to myself.

I have enjoyed a wealth of experiences, wonderful enriching relationships, material possessions, and the greatest gift of all – a deep connection with the richness of spirit.

Like a spiritual butterfly…I have flitted from one job to the next; thrown myself wholeheartedly into one exciting business idea after another; moved from relationship to friendship; house to home; and country to continent.

Always moving…with an insatiable need to explore all that life has to offer.

I could never commit wholeheartedly to anyone – or anything – for more than a short time before my wings began to itch and I had to respond to the calling from spirit to fly towards my next appointment with destiny.

I’ve travelled the world and lived a life that many can only dream of. Life has been a kaleidoscope of colourful experiences; each one revealing another facet of my soul’s awakening.

My wanderlust has been calmed for a while as I find myself back in the UK, living in my little riverside home; immersed in this new journey of discovery…revealing my life and my thoughts to the world through the writing of this blog.

With each new post, I connect with another long buried part of myself. As I bring my soul gently towards the light through the writing process, I am beginning to recognise – and truly know myself – for the very first time.

And it feels so good!

Day 28 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate coming home – to myself!

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The Rose and The Bees

27 01 2011

A rose longed for the company of the bees, but none would come to her.


Even so, the flower was still capable of dreaming. When she felt all alone, she would imagi­ne a garden filled with bees that came to kiss her.

And so she managed to resist until the next day, when she opened her petals again.

“Aren’t you tired?” Another rose asked her.

No. I have to go on fighting

“Because if I don’t open up, I wither.”  – Paulo Coelho

I love this little story by Paulo Coelho…one of my favourite authors.

As someone who thrives on connecting with others, the story reminded me of the times when the phone has stopped ringing, my email inbox is clear (very rare) and no-one has left a comment on my blog, or on FaceBook!

The ‘bees’ have stopped visiting…and I am bereft without their company.

 

Connection with others’ is my inspiration and my reason for living. This exchange of thoughts and ideas feeds my soul; giving me strength and motivation.

No matter what curve balls life may throw me, I will continue to open up my petals every morning and reach out to connect with another soul. Without this daily contact I would wither like the beautiful rose and my life would lose its meaning.

No man (or woman) is an island – John Donne (1572-1631)

Rare is the person who is so totally at home in their own company that they don’t feel the urge to reach out to connect in a meaningful way with another human being.

Day 27 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate all the beautiful bees in my life whose presence fills my garden.





Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

26 01 2011

In the words of the great Elton John…’sorry seems to be the hardest word’.

Yet sorry seems to be a very easy word for those who use it as a regular excuse for their behaviour.

Sorry is one of those words that some people use automatically in an attempt to keep the peace – without really considering the true meaning of the word.

I know people who are so unreliable that sorry is usually the first word out of their mouths…long before they even know what you want to say to them!

They have become so used to being berated for letting others down; that sorry has become their mantra and often they have no idea what they are saying sorry for!

In some cases, the other person is totally unaware that their words or behaviour have hurt us in some way. At times like this, we owe it to ourselves and to the perpetrator to be honest about how we feel.

Rather than blindly accuse them of doing us wrong, we need to gently explain the effect their words or actions have had on us. We need to own our hurt instead of blaming them. This way they will less defensive and will be far more prepared to listen to our point of view.

Whether or not an apology is forthcoming, we are ultimately responsible for the way we feel. Perceived hurts often result when our expectations have been dashed for some reason.

In many instances, the other person has no idea what our expectations are, and it would be very unfair to expect someone to live up to ideals of which they are totally unaware.

If someone has unwittingly caused us pain, we cannot always expect an apology as it may well have been a misunderstanding on our part. Sometimes, just by listening to another’s point of view we are able to release any hurt or resentment we may have been holding onto.

Sorry often goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness.

 

Firstly, we need to forgive ourselves for allowing someone to hurt us in this way. Only then we can forgive the other person. And by doing so, we are able to free ourselves from holding a grievance that would eventually hurt us far more than the other person.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”…Gandhi

Insincere apologies can always be detected and when we say sorry, we need to ensure that we really mean it. A heartfelt apology can melt away all grievances, anger and hatred…and can heal a million hurts.

Day 26 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate the honesty and courage of those who find it in their hearts to make a sincere apology for any hurt they may have caused another.

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Holding On

25 01 2011

‘Someone gave me this glass, and I really like this glass. It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings. One day the wind may blow it off my shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it incredibly’ – Achaan Chah Subato – Thai monk.

These profound and freeing words made me realise just how much of my life I had wasted by desperately trying to ‘hold on’…

…I wanted to hold onto people who needed to move on because I couldn’t imagine my life without them being part of it.

…I wanted to hold onto possessions because I believed they gave me some sort of security or identity.

…I wanted to hold onto life…my own…and those I love…because I didn’t want to accept that one day we would have to say ‘goodbye’ to each other…at least in this lifetime.

This sometimes irrational fear of loss has led to some interesting ‘push/pull’ situations in my life as part of me has always been an adventurer who wanted to travel the world…and the other part of me believed that everything ‘out there’ was dangerous and that it was much safer to stay at home!

When I finally plucked up the courage to go back packing around Asia a few years ago; it was no suprise to find that my paranoia had come along for the ride!

I was so terrified of poisonous snakes and spiders that I used to carry a roll of sticky tape around with me to seal up the windows and doors of my beach hut, in case some threatening creature was lurking in the shadows waiting to attack me!

My fellow travellers thought it was hilarious and affectionately (I think!) named me ‘the Sellotape Girl’!

 

In this small way, I believed that I could control the situation and protect myself from danger. And yet we only have to look around us to realise that we have very little control over what happens to us.

 We have floods and natural disasters, violence and disease and there is only a certain amount we can do to protect ourselves against such  tragedies.

Of course we can take sensible precautions to keep ourselves safe, although at some point, we have to accept that nowhere is totally safe and that it is almost impossible to live without a clear and present danger of some sort.

Once we accept the impermanence of everything and that in time, the world as we know it will definitely be changed or gone; we will also know that there is nothing to hold onto.

 Our ‘glass’ is already broken…and the time to enjoy it is now!

Day 25 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate knowing that my glass is already broken freeing me to enjoy the pleasure of the moment. 

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